The Accord and beyond : Approaches of buyer engagement aimed at improving labour conditions in global supply chains. / Oka, Chikako; Egels-Zandén, Niklas; Alexander, Rachel.

In: Development and Change, 08.10.2019.

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Abstract

The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh (‘Accord’) has received both praise and criticism concerning its implications on corporate responsibility and power. This article contributes to the debate by situating the Accord within a broader set of activities buyers are engaged in to promote better labour conditions in their supply chains. We identify three approaches of buyer engagement as auditing, capacity building and advocacy. Drawing on interviews conducted with 64 European brands and retailers, we show how buyers perceive merits and challenges of these approaches, and whether and how they discharge responsibility and power through these activities. Our study shows that the Accord is seen primarily as part of the auditing approach with a key feature being its use of collective leverage as a means of enforcement. While greater buyer power has not necessarily accompanied greater responsibility, we also highlight heterogeneity among buyers in how they take up different approaches, painting a more nuanced picture of buyer responsibility and power.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalDevelopment and Change
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Oct 2019

ID: 34798497